Few things are certain in life, death, taxes and any area that is rough around the edges slowly becomes gentrified. That gentrification usually starts with the arty set, dare I say it, the hipsters. There are a number of schools of thought on the gentrification of an area, my own opinion changes depending on which day of the week you catch me, but regardless of your viewpoint I think we can all agree that seeing an old empty building being used for nothing at all is a waste. For decades now people would flock every week to to visit the vast Marche au Puces but there is another reason to venture out to the now and this one comes with snacks.
La is situated in the old station building and spills onto the unused tracks and platform providing a useful space and somewhat green urban oasis. The building has a great start with high ceilings and grand windows but it is the restoration design that sets this apart from others I have seen. The design team fully embraced their three Rs, those being Reduce, Reuse & Recycle. An entire wall made up from windows is just one of the examples that they have pulled off with ease.
Old buildings are often saved and restored but there are a number of things that I like about this in particular. Firstly it has remained a public space, it is not a hotel or office block. Secondly unlike many place that could be described as 'hip' this one is really friendly and accessible, I can say this in all honesty as I am not cool, not by any stretch and felt very comfortable there, with a mix of cool kids, older folk, families and well, people like me. In fact Rene, the builder of the recycling centre, has his studio in the middle of the space. He welcomes the public to come and have lunch, drink coffee, seeing him work in an "at home" atmosphere gives them a boost for a small repairs they may have.
Outside on the terrace and steps there is place to sit and eat, chat, home to vegetables and sometimes a market filled with secondhand goodies.
La really is a multipurpose space, meaning there really is something for everyone. The bar and cafe offers a fantastic social space serving world cuisine on a rotating calendar and their brunch is really good value. It is possible to shop on their website from a range of local producers and then you simply call in and collect your goods later in the day, a real benefit for a busy city dweller.
The space is also host to a number of events such as , craft classes, talks, special food events and performance.
Find La at 83 boulevard 75018 Paris.
Monday to Wednesday Noon - Midnight
Thursday Noon - 1am
Friday & Saturday Noon - 2am
Sunday Noon - 10pm
(line 4) Bus 85 & 86